At 100 Years Old, Navy Veteran Presented Bronze Star Medal

by Yonca Poyraz-Dogan
U.S. Navy

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- World War II Navy veteran Wilbur F. Hoffman was presented the Bronze Star Medal Sept. 29 in his hometown of Livingston, New Jersey, for his heroic actions on USS Hughes (DD 410) when it was hit by a bomb.

Assistant Secretary of the Navy Greg Slavonic, who joined the award ceremony at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Livingston, said that it was a distinct honor to attend the ceremony.

"It was a distinct honor to attend the Bronze Star Medal award ceremony for Chief Water Tender Wilbur Hoffman in his hometown of Livingston, New Jersey. He was recognized for his heroics aboard the USS Hughes (DD 410) more than 70 years ago. Sailors like Chief Hoffman serve as an example to those serving today on the true meaning of ‘duty, honor, country’.”

The Bronze Star Medal was presented to Hoffman by Rear Adm. Scott Jerabek for his heroic achievement related to combat operations against the enemy Dec. 10, 1944, when he was in charge of the forward fireroom when USS Hughes was hit by a bomb off Leyte, Philippine Islands.

“By his quick thinking and ingenuity, he kept steam on the emergency feed pump, ensuring water pressure to the firemain. This enabled the repair party to keep the fire under control and eventually extinguish it. By his bold actions, courage under fire and total dedication to duty, Chief Water Tender Hoffman reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service,” Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer noted in his citation recognizing Hoffman’s achievements.

Although Hoffman earned the recognition back in the days of World War II, he was never presented the actual medal until Sept. 29 when a Bronze Star with Valor Awards Ceremony was held for him including military honors, such as, parading of colors and the singing of the national anthem by a Navy Honor Guard.

Among the guests were Hoffman’s immediate family members, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and New Jersey Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen.

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